Chester Bennington's Widow Launches Mental Health Campaign In His Honor

By Victoria Kim 03/22/18

To honor her late husband's birthday, Talinda Bennington is spearheading a mental health education campaign.

Chester Bennington memorial

Chester Bennington did not die in vain. On what would have been his 42nd birthday on March 20, his widow urged fans on social media to pledge to learn the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering, so they may have the understanding to help a friend or relative who may be struggling.

The Linkin Park frontman died by suicide last July, shocking millions of fans, his band, and his family. Since then, wife Talinda Bennington has been on a mission to raise mental health awareness, which she said could have better equipped her to address her husband’s battles.

“For 13 years I watched my husband Chester struggle with depression and substance use,” she shared on a webpage for 320 Changes Direction, her partnership with The Campaign to Change Direction. “I often felt scared and alone. I was uneducated about the challenges he faced and wanted information—but finding answers to my questions and available help for our family was very difficult.”

By speaking about these issues, Bennington hopes to “change the culture of mental health” so that people who are struggling, and their family members, can address mental health openly and feel comfortable to seek help.

To honor the vocalist’s birthday, Talinda launched a social media campaign, asking people to learn the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering, as well as the Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-Being, and then post a photo of themselves holding up one hand with “I AM THE CHANGE” written on it, to symbolize that they know the Five Signs. 

“The passing of my husband cannot be in vain,” Talinda wrote in her call to action. “His passing was a catalyst for opening up dialogue with respect to emotional and mental health. Throughout his life, he saved countless lives with his music and philanthropy. And through his death, he continues to save lives by spotlighting the urgent need for a change in our mental health culture.

“It’s up to us to change the way we think of mental health, to acknowledge that everyone has their own mental health to care for, and to end stigma and shame when we need to seek help for it,” she continued.

The Five Signs of Emotional Suffering:

1. Personality Change: Their personality changes. You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don’t seem to fit the person’s values, or the person may just seem different.

2. Agitated: They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down. People in more extreme situations of this kind may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at a minor problem.

3. Withdrawal: They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. Someone who used to be socially engaged may pull away from family and friends and stop taking part in activities he or she used to enjoy. In more severe cases the person may start failing to make it to work or school. Not to be confused with the behavior of someone who is more introverted, this sign is marked by a change in someone's typical sociability, as when someone pulls away from the social support he or she typically has.

4. Poor Self-Care: They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior. You may notice a change in the person's level of personal care or an act of poor judgment on his or her part. For instance, someone may let his or her personal hygiene deteriorate, or the person may start abusing alcohol or illicit substances or engaging in other self-destructive behavior that may alienate loved ones.

5. Hopelessness: They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? That person may be suffering from extreme or prolonged grief, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. People in this situation may say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting suicidal thinking.

If you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, immediately seek help. You are not alone.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Call 911.

Send a text to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. This free text-message service provides 24/7 support to those in crisis.

Call a friend or family member to stay with you until emergency medical personnel arrive to help you.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr